I ❤️ open spaces with a neverending horizon! Maybe because my hometown, Brasília, can be described just like that. In this trip to Portugal we visited gorgeous towns in the Albufeira and Centro region, and Marvão and Tomar were the ones that got my heart!
This first post will be dedicated to Marvão. Tomar will be next.
In the photo bellow, I’m at Marvão, contemplating the neverending horizon. Even this word give me goosebumps: horiiiiizoooonnn…
Located at 860 meters, in the heights of the mountain of Sapoio, the city of Marvão is one of the highest points of the Serra de São Mamede and one of the most beautiful fortified cities of Portugal.
It owes its current name to the Moors: in the ninth century, the fortress of Amaia-o-Monte became Amaia Ibn Maruan, which comes from the name of the Muwallad chef Ibn Marwan.
(His full name was Abd’Al Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn Marwan Ibn Yunus Al Djilliq – are you serious??? (born in Merida, died in 889), descended from a Hispano-Roman or Visigothic family of al-Andalus that converted to Islam.)
Built in the 13th century, the castle was enlarged and transformed in the 17th century, as shown by the vaulted cistern on the right of the entrance. When we walk a little further we cross a large esplanade leading to the castle:
The citadel is built on impressive rocky peaks which gives the impression of being at the bow of a boat! It is possible to go around the citadel on the walkway, while observing the panorama of the Serra de São Mamede to the north and to nearby Spain. Indeed, the Spanish city of Valencia de Alcántara is only 26km away!
Me, hubby and our son going around the citadel:
From the first tower, you can also have a breathtaking view of the village and its white houses. And I mean it! 😍
This amazing place has experienced several battles and despite its minuscule size it’s impregnated with History, with a capital H.
During ethnic quarrels, Ibn Marwan, or Abd’Al Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn Marwan Ibn Yunus Al Djilliq, took refuge with entire populations of muwallads in this impregnable fortress, to create his kingdom, until the reconciliation with Emir Abd Allah. It is in 1160, by Afonso Henriques, that it is named Marvão, but the castle was consolidated later, by Denis I. To face the new war artillery of the time, the enclosures are rehabilitated, turning the castle into a real impregnable citadel.
Look at this gradient in the sky! The way the colors transition is totally magical! No filters or effects were added, this is the real thing!
The Portuguese Nobel prize writer, José Saramago, thus described the village: ‘‘From Marvão one can see the entire land… It is understandable that from this place, high up in the keep at Marvão Castle, visitors may respectfully murmur, ‘How great is the world!’’